Memorial Day Mythbusters: Turn Off the A/C While You're Away?

May 21, 2015 Written by  Comments Print
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We're back with another home energy efficiency Mythbusters blog! Check out our first one here in case you missed it.

This week's topic: Memorial Day! We're all glad to get a long weekend, and many of us are planning to get away from home for a few days to celebrate the unofficial first weekend of summer. Before you head out, you might do a little tidying up around the house. You might also wonder: Should I turn off the A/C while I'm away? There's conflicting information out there about whether or not you should do so. Fortunately, there's also a definitive answer. Learn more in this week's Memorial Day Mythbusters blog!

The Myth

You shouldn't turn your A/C down or off while you're away because it will cost more money for the unit to get the temperature back down to a comfortable level than it would to keep the temperature consistent all weekend.

The Facts

The fact is that this is just not true. Your air conditioner doesn't have to work any harder to bring the temperature back down to a comfortable level. And not only that, but leaving on the air conditioner all weekend will cost you more than turning it down or off before you go.

Why? Because for every degree you set the thermostat below 78, you'll use 3-5 percent more energy.Let's say you're going to be out of the house on Saturday and Sunday this Memorial Day weekend. If you left your thermostat at 73, you could potentially use up to 25% more energy than you would if you set it to 78.

Calculating energy costs isn't an exact science, since everyone pays different amounts depending on their provider. But lets say it costs $0.75 an hour to run your A/C.

If you left your A/C on at 73 all weekend (48 hours), you'd pay $36.

If you bumped it down to 78, you'd save 25%, meaning you'd pay $27.

If you turned it off entirely, you'd pay nothing!

The Verdict: False

The idea that you shouldn't turn the A/C down or off in order to save money is just not true. A good idea is to set the thermostat in the low 80's while you're away for Memorial Day

Other A/C Tips

Here are a few more tips for saving money on your air conditioning bills that you can use this Memorial Day and beyond!

  • Use a programmable thermostat! This saves you the trouble of having to turn the thermostat down when you go to work and ensures you'll never forget to do so!

  • Change your air filter. A dirty air filter forces the air to work harder, which costs you more money.

  • Use ceiling fans. Ceiling fans don't actually make the air cooler, but they do create the sensation of coolness by moving air across your skin. Make sure you turn them off when you leave the room.

  • Close the blinds. Heat from the sun will be prevented from entering your home through the windows.

Keep up with greeNEWit's blog for more home energy efficiency myth busting! Call us todat at 866.966.7630 to learn how a home energy audit can increase the energy efficiency of your home in DC, Baltimore, or Columbia. 

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